Trouble is in store for the NDA in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur constituency as BJP leaders stormed out of a district coordination meeting with ally JD(U) on Sunday. They have refused to campaign for Jaishankar Nishad, the JD(U) candidate who has replaced George Fernandes.
Fernandes, former convenor of the NDA, was refused a party ticket from Muzaffarpur and will now contest as an Independent. He is expected to file his nomination on April 1.
BJP leaders lodged a strong protest over the candidature of Nishad and boycotted the meeting. Party insiders say the rank and file of the BJP in the district is solidly behind Fernandes because of his proximity to the top brass. This is despite the fact that the central BJP command has ruled out support to the ailing Socialist leader.
On the other hand, Nishad, who had a short stint in the BJP only to desert its ranks, invited the wrath of the party workers, said senior leader Bishnu Kant Jha.
At the meeting, BJP leaders, except district president Ravindra Kumar Singh, leveled charges of omission and commission against Nishad and threatened that they would ensure his downfall. A panicky Nishad was seen coaxing leaders of both sides to calm down.
Senior JD(U) leader Dr Harendra Kumar intervened to save the situation from turning ugly, but by that time, BJP leaders had left. Their party vice-president Manish Kumar termed the coordination meeting “fruitless”.
Senior party leaders Bishnu Kant Jha, Ganesh Singh, Debanshu Kishore and K.P. Pappu said they would not campaign for Nishad.
Several leaders from both parties, too, were missing.
The BJP’s state vice-president, Suresh Sharma, a claimant from this seat, was absent apart from JD(U) legislators Raju Kumar of Sahebganj, Shashi Kumar Rai of Baruraj and Manoj Kushwaha of Kudhani.